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Soon It Might Be Possible To Finally Have A Nice ARM-Powered Linux Laptop

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  • #31
    Originally posted by schmidtbag View Post
    Again, I don't think you're wrong, but this is a LOT of major companies on-board with something with such a high probability for failure. MS and Qualcomm are both very greedy, and HP tends to be go cheap about things that aren't promising (and the Envy X2 isn't cheaply made). With so much financial incentive in developing these laptops, I don't think these 3 companies would've attempted making this if failure was so probable, or more importantly, profitable. Asus lately is getting pretty experimental about things, so to me, their efforts aren't all that surprising.

    Also I'm not sure if you're aware, but MS has an x86 compatibility layer for these laptops. It's horrifically slow compared to a native binary, but unlike Windows RT, these laptops can and will run most "traditional" Windows programs. This alone may actually be what prevents these laptops from being total failures (but, I still suspect they won't be successful).
    I know enough about corporate decisions to not think that just because big companes dogpile on something it's because it is indeed worthwile. In this case they also have other reasons to be less careful so I'm even more suspicious.

    MS dumped tons of cash in anything that could bring it out of their current cul-de-sac (as Intel can't provide noteworthy hardware anymore to push people to actually upgrade their PC, let's ignore for a second that if they made a modern laptop like 1 cm thicker it would last for days) and this means also going experimental, Qualcomm also isn't in a great position either as smartphones won't need much more powerful CPUs than top tier we had years ago.

    HP was overrun by salespeople decades ago, their stuff has been hit-and-miss since, and in most cases on the crap side (at least on laptops). I've seen laptops that have so fucked up ACPI tables that even Windows has issues with it (ACPI.sys using constantly 30-40-60% of CPU, depending on CPU type, just look it up, it's hilarious), and hinges are garbage on average.

    But anyway, HP and ASUS are in the same spot as everyone else in the PC sector, they need something new and different because x86 CPUs can't just be the sole force to drive sales anymore.

    Only PC hardware that sells decently are AppleBooks, everyone else is getting a decrease in sales that goes on and on and on since years ago.

    And this sets a motive to "do something". And that's a very good one. I'm just skeptical that they chose the right path with ARM laptops (or that there is at all such "right path").


    • #32
      Originally posted by wizard69 View Post
      Net boooks where just a bad idea. If we get a proper screen, keyboard and I/O the devices will lsell.
      The question is if ARM-based tablet-ish things running a crippled Windows that can't run normal Windows applications (or does so at a disadvantage due to emulation) can really be better than netbooks.

      The driver will be China in my opinion.
      Why? they won't suddenly buy droves of crippled and very expensive machines when they can just buy Apple-lookalikes that run normal windows and applications.

      Maybe Apple to some extent if the rumors about ARM based laptops become true there.
      This is completely irrelevant, also Apple isn't this stupid, they wanted to replace laptops with a "pro tablet" running iOS, which can make sense. Here we are talking about running Windows with limited application ecosystem on very expensive hardware.

      Interestingly FOSS support on Apple current laptops is pretty good in that the have more than one well supported repository for FOSS. Just compare homebrew to anything similar on Windows.
      This is completely tangential and irrelevant.

      In any event if an ARM based laptop can launch with a basic Workstation distro support success is certain.
      This is bullshit, workstations usually run binary software, which does not ship for ARM.


      • #33
        Originally posted by zoomblab View Post
        Does the different ARM motherboards still require custom linix distributions?
        it depends on board. subj implies generic kernel


        • #34
          Originally posted by Vistaus View Post
          You're right about Steam though.
          it is easy to live without steam. much harder without steam library


          • #35
            Originally posted by grok View Post
            If Qualcomm makes a line of SoCs for laptops only hopefully they can support high RAM and So-DIMMs.
            Afaik they don't, it's all used in ultraslim form factors where they don't have the physical space for DIMM slots and M.2.


            • #36
              Originally posted by edwaleni View Post
              Last time I checked, ARM based Chromebooks do not qualify under Crostini. Only x86-64.

              So while running Linux apps on ChromeOS may be a victory overall, those who bought into the ChromeOS on ARM platforms will be reaching the end of the road soon.

              I got a notice that Google is starting the deprecation of several ARM Chromebooks. My Samsung Exynos based Chromebook is hitting EOL and I have no recourse. I will have to bin it.
              Nope. ARM based Chromebooks are getting Crostini too.

              The Samsung Chromebook Plus has support for KVM Host and the Linux VM in the Dev channel.

              As far as Steam goes... I'm wondering if Eltechs can work on ARM based Linux laptops like it does with Raspberry Pi. Eltechs Exagear now has support for hardware accelerated graphics, thus possible to install Wine + Steam with 3D acceleration on at least the Raspberry Pi models. Only 32-bit apps and games are supported atm. It will be a fair bit slower than playing native on x86 but a Qualcomm 845 is gonna be pretty speedy, so the end result is older 32-bit Windows games might be somewhat playable on ARM via Wine.
              Last edited by Xaero_Vincent; 14 June 2018, 05:30 PM.


              • #37
                Originally posted by Michael_S View Post

                The market is too small, that's why the vendors don't care.

                One broadly applicable problem for hardware like this is a similar problem to what killed Valve's SteamOS Steam Machine products: if you know Linux well enough to be a potential market for the device, there's a spectacular chance you can more cheaply adapt other hardware. The launch Steam Machines were nice, but I could cobble together something performance equivalent for half the cost because of extra components I have. And this gadget will undoubtedly be nice too, but I can buy a used laptop with better specs on Ebay and install Linux myself.

                And it died in the market due to poor sales because tens of thousands of existing Windows x86 applications were not available on it (and maybe also because the hardware was insufficient so the performance was poor, I don't remember). As -MacNuke- pointed out, the Qualcomm 845 has emulation for x86 applications and while it may lag a modern Intel mobile chip with a similar power draw it most likely blows the original Windows RT gadgets out of the water for performance.

                (Edit: Though admittedly the Windows 8/8.1 debacle almost certainly contributed a lot to the failure of Windows RT. Maybe a user interface better than Windows 8/8.1 and better naming would have saved the product. Windows 8 is a giant pile of evidence that a corporation can waste money as efficiently as a member of Congress.)
                It doesn't matter if Windows RT failed because that was not the point. The argument given was that Windows hadn't been available on ARM until now, but Windows RT, despite its failure, was ARM so technically Windows was available on ARM since 2012.


                • #38
                  Originally posted by -MacNuke- View Post

                  Windows RT is not a full Windows 10 coupled with an x86 emulator.
                  So? The argument given was "Windows was not available on ARM until now". And that I proved wrong because of Windows RT. Whether or not it was full-fledged Windows 10 is a whole other story. My point still stands that Windows, in the form of RT, was available on ARM since 2012.


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Palu Macil View Post
                    I want to be excited, but all my build tools and IDEs will probably fail and I'll go back to using an x86-64 machine as my primary, and I don't really use computers for things other than development.
                    I would say, if there is any doubt... Replace your build tools with something portable. Gone are the days where a developer can just sit in Visual Studio 6 and never think about build system maintenance / lifespan / portability.

                    gcc/clang, Vim and CMake function the same on any modern development platform. I would suggest starting there


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Vistaus View Post
                      My point still stands that Windows, in the form of RT, was available on ARM since 2012.
                      Windows NT was available on POWER and MIPS but that "failed". It is mostly about what Microsoft wants to support (or gets paid by Intel to support). I hate the fact that we are seemingly at the whims of those greedy twits at Redmond